Reaud Honors College launches Reaud Leadership Institute, honors studies minor

With the generous support of Beaumont attorney and philanthropist, Wayne A. Reaud, Lamar University (LU) and the Reaud Honors College have launched the Reaud Leadership Institute (RLI) with an accompanying Honors Studies minor. In its inaugural year, students participating in the institute are the first ever Reaud Fellows. As Reaud Fellows, students will engage in challenging and unique professional opportunities designed to cultivate and enhance critical thinking and leadership skills among Lamar’s best and brightest.Reaud Institute

The rigorous academic nature of the RLI begins in the student’s first year where they engage in an Honors Seminar on Leadership. Fellows participate in an intense book study on “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” applying what they have learned at all leadership events.” Also, Reaud Fellows join in the Honors Leadership Community where they develop ePortfolios and identify their research goals, academic goals and “why” statements to guide their collegiate endeavors.

“In just the past year, the RLI Fellows have partnered with university stakeholders across campus, including the LU Office of Alumni Affairs and the Honors Student Association Executive Team. These opportunities have included teambuilding development workshops, as well as a formal event that included etiquette training, ballroom dancing, a multi-course dinner and tips for polite conversation,” Dr. Tony Kemerly, associate dean of the Reaud Honors College said.

Recalling the formal event, RLI member and accounting major Soleil Tran said, “I believe that cultivating social and professional skills aligns with leadership development, because it builds effective communication and character skills. Going to the etiquette dinner educated me on how to properly act in a professional setting. From the dinner, I learned about what to do and what not to do, and the respect and disrespect that comes from every action you do in a professional setting.”

“Academically, Fellows of the RLI will have access to incredible opportunities through the minor in Honors Studies, as well as the chance to engage with Lamar faculty in undergraduate research or creative works,” Dr. Kemerly said. “Participating in research gives students a greater depth of understanding of their chosen field of study. Through research, they will be empowered to solve real-world problems, develop meaningful mentoring relationships, and gain a competitive edge in industry.”

A wide variety of volunteer opportunities, such as the Stepping Up Civic Leadership program, are also available throughout the southeast Texas community. These volunteer experiences, in areas as diverse as local historical restoration, crime and safety, health, and environmental consciousness give the Reaud Fellows an unmatched experience in civil leadership and volunteerism. 

The lodestone of the RLI experience is the 19-credit minor in Honors Studies. The minor offers a series of courses that provides a theoretical underpinning from which the experiential nature of the Reaud Leadership Institute Experience follows. The minor is comprised of courses from across the academic spectrum, from philosophy to political science and history.

 “Through my participation in the Honors Studies program, which I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in, I hope to work on the vision aspects of my leadership,” RLI student Elizabeth Diaz Arreola said. “Integral parts of the Honors Studies program and curriculum are broadening my horizons and interacting with others from all walks of life, which I would not have as much access to, if not for this amazing program.”

To learn more about the Reaud Leadership Institute, visit